Wingnuts: Grapple With Your Own Theodicy and Leave Me Out of It

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abortion, Religion, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Amy Sullivan, truly the David Brooks of religion writing, thinks that liberals are misreading Richard Mourdock’s position on abortion.

Take a look again at Mourdock’s words: “I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And…even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” The key word here is “it.” I think it’s pretty clear that Mourdock is referring to a life that is conceived by a rape. He is not arguing that rape is the something that God intended to happen.

I understood him perfectly well and I still think it’s outrageous. This goon is saying that women must be forced to carry a pregnancy to term even in cases of rape. I think that’s barbaric and cruel.

Amy wants this to be about theology –

This is a fairly common theological belief, the understanding of God as an active, interventionist. It’s also not limited to conservative Christians. There are liberal Christians who also argue that things work out the way they’re supposed to. Some of them are in my own family, and I think they’re wrong. But it is one way of grappling with the problem of theodicy, trying to understand why God would allow bad things to happen.

And they can grapple with it all they like; just do the grappling with their own bodies, thanks much.

Sullivan goes on to explain the theological arguments about things being intended by God, as if any of us who were sent to Sunday School at least a dozen times didn’t already know them.

And I say that the next time Richard Mourdock gets pregnant from rape and chooses to carry the baby to term because he thinks it’s god’s will, I’m just peachy with that. Whatever floats his boat. But this theo-idiot is planning to force everyone else to live by his conscience and not our own. And, y’know, to a lot of us that looks like good old-fashion oppression.

Most religion looks ridiculous to outsiders. If Mourdock can somehow reconcile in his own head that God did not intend the rape but did intend the conception, that’s not any of my concern — as long as it stays in his own head.

Despite the assertions of many liberal writers I read and otherwise admire, I don’t think that politicians like Mourdock oppose rape exceptions because they hate women or want to control women. I think they’re totally oblivious and insensitive and can’t for a moment place themselves in the shoes of a woman who becomes pregnant from a rape. I think most don’t particularly care that their policy decisions can impact what control a woman does or doesn’t have over her own body. But if Mourdock believes that God creates all life and that to end a life created by God is murder, then all abortion is murder, regardless of the circumstances in which a pregnancy came about.

In other words, Sullivan is making a distinction between actively hating women and being “oblivious and insensitive” to our individuality and humanity. I don’t really see the difference. A man who is incapable of perceiving women as human beings in their own right, who cannot empathize with them or respect that their perspectives are just as valid as his, is what we call a “misogynist.” There is a spectrum of misogynist attitudes that goes from garden-variety sexist pigs to psychopathic serial killers, but it’s a difference in degree, not in kind.

And I oppose this creep Mourdock not because I disrespect his religion but because he disrespects mine. He also disrespects my humanity. I find that annoying.

As you can see from an old post, Amy Sullivan has a long-standing pattern of finding distinctions with no differences. Her shtick for years has been that liberals are mean to proper religious folk because we misunderstand them. Well, I doubt one fundamentalist in a million understands a dadblamed thing about my religion, and that doesn’t bother me in the least as long as they leave me alone about it.

The real issue is that from the earliest days of our Republic conservative Christians have tried to use government to impose their beliefs on everyone else, establishment clause notwithstanding, and they must be opposed. Period. What their theological rationalizations are is irrelevant to me.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Tom_B  •  Oct 25, 2012 @4:15 pm

    Mourdock made himself perfectly clear. He’s now the current spokesman for the rape/pillage/pestilence party

  2. Bill B.  •  Oct 25, 2012 @4:25 pm

    Poor Amy. She didn’t like being called pro-choice when she was pro-choice, so she said there was no name for her position. And now she thinks Mourdock was misunderstood because he was saying God caused the pregnancy to happen but not the rape. That is like saying God meant for AIDS to happen, but not the act leading to the infection. Neither one makes sense. Poor Amy should concern herself with honesty before she meanders further off the path and into the thick weeds of theodicy. Telling the truth instead of parsing for partisanship would be a better use of the time she spends on her soul. FSM doesn’t like her kind of behavior!

  3. stratplayer  •  Oct 25, 2012 @4:36 pm

    Amy may be well-meaning, but she is being colossally disingenuous in this instance. Calvin at least had the intellectual honesty to grapple with the implications of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and infinite God and was forced to embrace the vexing doctrine of predestination. Amy surely understands this theological conundrum, while Mourdock is just ignorant, which explains his selectivity when it comes to what he must believe is God’s absolute knowledge and control over all events, past and future.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 25, 2012 @4:49 pm

    Psychologically, all of this anti-abortion activity, I think, is projection, as some form of revenge, based on the Conservatives being wrong on every Civil Rights issues of the last 200+ years, whether it was ‘the rights of man,’ the American Revolution, freedom of and from religion, labor rights, rights for blacks, women’s rights, or gay rights.

    They picked the fetus as their Civil Rights issue, because by doing so, they can also denigrate women and minorities, and make sure they go through what I call “Forced Labor.”
    Humiliation of the “other” is a large part of their superiority complex.
    And it’s only natural that they take it all the way back to when the fetus starts at the very nano-second of conception. It maximizes control, and control is yet another large part of their superiority complex.
    ‘Sure, you Liberals stood for the rights of the others! But WE’RE the ones defending just a few clusters of cells! WE ARE THE TRUE CHAMPIONS OF FREEDOM AND LIFE!!!’

    Being anti-abortion should be kept seperate from being anti-choice. They really are two different things.

    One can be against abortion for ones self, or family members, but not god-bother everyone else into having to live by their position.

    Being anti-choice, means that you will use the tools of government to force your opinions on everyone else, regardless of their own beliefs, religious or otherwise. Anti-choice means you are making the choice for OTHERS.

    I wonder, if Mr. Mourdock’s wife was raped by a black man, if he would still look at that offspring as one of “God’s blessings?” *

    And if he’d spend years, tears, sweat, and money, raising his wife’s rapists’s part-black child?

    Or his daughter’s child via the “blessing’ of rape?**

    And what if the rapist demanded, as his rights under “God’s Will,” that he have visitation rights? Will he take his wife and/or daughter, with their child(ren), to prison to visit him? Will, after he’s released, he want to give those children up to the rapist for a weekend or two a month?

    Or, would he hustle them off to some place where the wife or daughter could quickly and quietely abort that black man’s fetus?

    Yeah – THAT!

    And demanding that women carry unwanted children to term, especially the children of rape, is not only the height of misogyny, it;s also lack of any considerations for the child – because it’s also potentially harmful, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally, to the children who actually are born and not given up for adoption.

    I’m a male, and I can’t imagine being the husband having to help raise the blameless child(ren) of my blameless wife’s horrible rapist.

    And I can’t even imagine being the woman, having to raise that child, without or without help from a significant other.

    It must take some kind of superhuman empathy to try to raise that blameless child, and not hold the cause of their creation against them.

    I’d like to think I could do it, if that situation presented itself. But I can’t lie and say that I know what I’d do, how I’d react..
    But, wouldn’t it be better not to bring that unwanted child into the world in the first place?

    People who support “Forced Labor,” are sociopathic holier-than-thou god-botherers, without an empathetic atom in their bodies. This has NOTHING to do with “God’s Will,” and everything to do with theirs.

    I still think that this election will not be as close as the polls tell everyone. I think women, who answer the pollsters questions with their husbands, boyfriends, and/or brothers sitting near them when they answer the poll, will, in secret, pull the lever, or fill-in the dot, for Obama and the Democrats. Maybe not for themselves, but for other women – these rape and abortion positions are the most misogynisitic positions that men in power can take. To them, women don’t matter, except as vessels and incubators for children – wanted, or not. And if the women were raped, well, they certainly were at fault, and deserved being raped, because they put themselves into outfits or positions that led to the rape in the first place.

    Again, though, I ask, “Will you, Sir, be willing to raise the child(ren) of you wife’s or daughter’s rapist? Or, will you run out?”
    Yeah – AGAIN – THAt!!!

    *Note – I’m not advocating, or hoping for something like that. This is just a thought excersize.
    **Also too – ditto.

  5. erinyes  •  Oct 25, 2012 @5:11 pm

    I agree with you Maha. Not much more to say.

  6. pattyp  •  Oct 25, 2012 @5:19 pm

    Conservative pundits are masters of hair-splitting.

  7. Dan  •  Oct 25, 2012 @5:56 pm

    How long before they decide rape should no longer be a crime (or murder, for that matter) since rapists and murderers are, after all, just their god’s agents of change…

  8. Dan  •  Oct 25, 2012 @5:57 pm

    “Theidiocy?”

  9. erinyes  •  Oct 25, 2012 @6:41 pm
  10. justme277  •  Oct 25, 2012 @6:41 pm

    Perhaps the nonsense and follies like these are what has cause Colin Powell to put his support behind Obama today.

  11. uncledad  •  Oct 25, 2012 @6:48 pm

    I do think the Democrats and pro-choice folks are losing the middle ground to these assholes. So much is made of exceptions, the fact that they want to outlaw all abortions gets lost in the shuffle. They are moving the discussion so far to the right that I fear exceptions for rape, incest, health etc. will be seen as a moderate compromise?

    These American Taliban want to legislate by “Christian” doctrine, problem is I’m not a Christian and I pay taxes so where does that leave me and my non-believer brethren? This Murdouch guy is a real schmuck; unfortunately the “Democrat” running against him is also a pro-life puttz, and a first class hypocrite blue-dog. I should know he’s my congressman, he even voted to hold Holder in contempt because the NRA was scoring the vote. I wrote him a nasty gram explaining to him that the teabaggers will never vote for him, he voted for Obamacare, I got the usual canned form letter back. I’m not sure I’m going to color in the senate dot come Nov. 6, I just can’t vote for either one?

  12. uncledad  •  Oct 25, 2012 @7:00 pm

    Maha,

    Are you aware that right-wing super-pacs are advertising on your site? There is a click banner for the “National Right to Work Committe” about Obama’s secret deal with big labor?

  13. maha  •  Oct 25, 2012 @7:46 pm

    I do think the Democrats and pro-choice folks are losing the middle ground to these assholes.

    We’ve been losing ground to them for years and years, but it seems to me things are starting to turn around.

  14. maha  •  Oct 25, 2012 @7:57 pm

    uncledad– I know; just ignore it.

  15. Bonnie  •  Oct 25, 2012 @8:04 pm

    I have a friend who is a domestic abuse counselor. She is a PhD in the field. Her particular interest since she first started towards this goal was to understand what role genetics plays in many of the problems of our society. One thing she has concluded is that when a woman is pregnant because of a rape, she needs to consider that the fetus may have all the important genetics from the rapist that made him a rapist. This is one more reason why the decision should be left to the woman, but she not only needs to think about the personal impact but the possible negative impact on society.

  16. joanr16  •  Oct 25, 2012 @8:12 pm

    They are moving the discussion so far to the right that I fear exceptions for rape, incest, health etc. will be seen as a moderate compromise?

    I worry about this too. But it seems to me framing these insane, hateful opinions as what they are, which has been the case since Todd Akin opened his ignorant yap, does provide some perspective.

  17. paradoctor  •  Oct 25, 2012 @9:06 pm

    I call state-forced bearing of rape pregnancy “the second rape”. And now I call the Republican party the “pro-rape” party. Or “objectively” pro-rape, if you want to sugar-coat it.

    Of course this is about who owns women’s bodies; they or the State. But if the State owns women’s bodies, then it owns men’s bodies too.

  18. paradoctor  •  Oct 25, 2012 @9:09 pm

    These ‘pro-lifers’ are nothing of the sort, given their love of weapons and warfare. In general there is no such thing as a pro-lifer, for the same reason that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Life inevitably involves grim choices; everyone must compromise with necessity; it’s just that some are hypocritical about it.

  19. biggerbox  •  Oct 25, 2012 @9:37 pm

    I’m with you, maha. Mourdock can believe any durn fool thing he wants. My problem is when he starts thinking that what he believes is the basis for social policy and legislation, and that he has the right to tell others to act according to his beliefs, or get elected to the US Senate.

  20. Tom_B  •  Oct 25, 2012 @10:25 pm

    The ACA is one small step towards changing the dialog about women’s issues. If we can keep that– by keeping the White House– the ship will start to turn. With so many women being the primary breadwinner these days, “barefoot and pregnant” isn’t so economically viable.

  21. Pat  •  Oct 25, 2012 @10:44 pm

    By her (il)logic I supose she thinks that support for abortion in the case of rape is because of fundamental opposition to the “miracle of birth” and that it has nothing to do with the fact that God was hijacked in an act of brutal violence. God created physics by which handguns operate too so does that make dying from a gunshot wound God’s intent?

    I’ve heard some sensible things from her on occasion but didn’t think she she spouted weasel words like this. She should dwell on the meaning of evil as benign neglect or as banal as shrugging ones shoulders and walking away. This is more evil, it’s proactive.

  22. Iosue  •  Oct 26, 2012 @8:44 am

    Oh, I don’t know, perhaps we are being too hard on the poor Republicans–after all the Republican party contains such a wide and varied spectrum of nuanced opinion on rape, dontchaknow? Introducing The Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart”:

    http://www.alternet.org/files/bbb_0.gif

  23. erinyes  •  Oct 26, 2012 @8:47 am
  24. Dan  •  Oct 26, 2012 @11:37 am

    “These American Taliban want to legislate by “Christian” doctrine”

    Not any “christian” doctrine based on the New Testament, and only by cherry-picking can they even shoehorn it into the Old Testament (for instance, did you know that the proscription against homosexuality is contained int he 7th Commandment (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”)? Neither would any sentient being…

    These people are not christian in any meaningful definition of the word. Jesus would grudgingly vote Democrat. Under no circumstances in the actual world would he ever cast a vote for a national Republican.

  25. Swami  •  Oct 26, 2012 @12:43 pm
  26. uncledad  •  Oct 26, 2012 @12:48 pm

    “Jesus would grudgingly vote Democrat. Under no circumstances in the actual world would he ever cast a vote for a national Republican”

    That is almost as ridicules as Murdochs statement, how the hell do you know who Jesus would vote for, and who gives a shit anyway? The whole point is not every citizen in this country is a Christian. Religion has no bearing on any function of government. Keep your fairy tale religious beliefs at church and out of my government!

  27. Felicity  •  Oct 26, 2012 @3:03 pm

    Clothed in religion, and having nothing to do with it, men’s discomfort with the (god-given fact, by the way) that women are, finally, in complete control of pro-creation is a fact that they (fear) and abhor. They really should take issue with their god who could just have easily made us women egg-layers.

  28. joanr16  •  Oct 26, 2012 @3:17 pm

    They really should take issue with their god who could just have easily made us women egg-layers.

    Yes! For what is the only true “Scripture,” presuming a Creator exists, but Creation itself; nothing else can be claimed to have come directly from the hand of that presumed Creator (including the Book o’ Mormon). If God had wanted males to control the gestation of our young, humans would be modeled after penguins. Plus, we’d be a lot cuter and always dressed for the prom.

  29. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 26, 2012 @3:25 pm

    “Plus, we’d be a lot cuter and always dressed for the prom.”

    Joan,
    Out of all the great lines you’ve written over the years, THAT one stands out – it make my month!!!

  30. paradoctor  •  Oct 26, 2012 @8:27 pm

    It isn’t just the religious wingnuts who are soft on rape. Note the atheistic Ayn Rand, prophet of the propertarians, who in her novels celebrates the crime.

  31. Richard Thomas  •  Oct 27, 2012 @9:13 am

    Obviously theodicy is missing three letters – put ‘ido’ between the o and the d and you’ve got it. What Mourdock’s apologists are trying to say is that there is a split between cause and effect and although, presumably on the basis that every sperm is sacred, in a rape if the woman becomes pregnant, the child is god’s will but the rape is not. It seems to me that if you argue the first cause of god’s will for the pregnancy, you can’t isolate the act that gives rise to it. If the god is all knowing and the rest then.. the argument makes itself surely and the rape is equally the will of the creator. I suppose you could also go through the same logic with ends and means.

    There is another aspect to this which has been covered to the effect that the godly like Mourdock presumably want an unwanted and potentially unloved child brought into the world. This seems to me to be a signal wickedness although it is entirely consistent with the hypocrisy of the man and his like.



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